Analysis of Five Field Event Performances at the Drake Relays by Age and Gender, 1978-2008
Miller, Lindsay J.
Mokashi, Varun N.
Strong, Michael A.
Hoffmann, Griffin B.
Strauch, Jennifer H.
Klatt, Travis D.
Laflen, Brad K.
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SubjectTrack and field athletes--Performance--Analysis; Track and field--Analysis; Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa); Track and field tournaments--Iowa--Des Moines
We analyzed gender and age differences in Drake Relays performance distances for 2 jumping (long jump and triplejump) and 3 throwing (discus, javelin, shotput) field events for 31 years (1978-2008). The top 10 performances were taken each year for 4 groups: high school (HS) boys, HS girls, college/university (C/U) men, C/U women. Our data set included 4403 performances total, because not all ages/genders competed in all events or for the same number of years. Generally, females significantly improved their jumping or throwing distances whereas males showed no improvements or significantly declined in performance. HS girls showed statistically significant improvements in all 3 of their events (discus, shotput, long jump), and C/U women showed improvements in 4 of their 5 events (discus, javelin, shotput, triplejump) and demonstrated no change in long jump performance. In comparison, HS boys showed no changes in 2 of their 3 events (discus and shotput) and significantly shorter distance in long jump, and C/U men demonstrated significantly shorter throwing or jumping distances in 4 of their 5 events (javelin, shotput, long jump, triplejump) and no change in discus. Despite the improvements in female performance distances, males threw or jumped further than females in all events for all years except for discus, where C/U women were out-throwing HS boys by 2008. As the Drake Relays includes athletes from across the country, these differences likely reflect national trends and are possibly explained by forces such as increased pressure for youth sport specialization, declining popularity of track-and-field, and Title IX.
Advisor: David S. Senchina
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